Authorities make organized crime arrests in Brooklyn

Nine people are indicted in connection with what the U.S. Department of Justice is calling an organized crime syndicate operating in Brooklyn.



Eight people in total are under arrest, and one suspect remains at large.



The defendants are referred to as the "Eastern European Thieves." Authorities say they have significant ties to Russia.



According to the Justice Department, the group's criminal activity occurred in the areas of Brighton Beach and Coney Island. The arrests were made Tuesday night and Wednesday, with charges including racketeering, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling and drug trafficking.



To collect millions of dollars in debts, authorities say the group regularly threatened victims with violence.



If convicted, the defendants face sentences ranging from five to 40 years in prison.


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